GROW Gippsland wins award for excellence in social procurement

07 February 2021 3 min. read

A project supported by procurement consultancy ArcBlue in Australia has won an international award at the annual World Commerce and Contracting Innovation and Excellence Awards. 

The Latrobe Valley Authority has been working together with consulting firm ArcBlue since 2018, when they jointly launched the GROW Gippsland programme. The background: a 2017 study that showed that increasing the share of local purchasing could drive economic growth and jobs for Latrobe Valley businesses.

Using a regional procurement platform bringing together multiple buying organisations in the Gippsland region, including government agencies and tier 1 suppliers delivering major infrastructure projects in the region, with local suppliers, the goal is to ramp up local spend in the region.

GROW Gippsland - money spent

Alongside broader economic growth in the region, GROW Gippsland also aims to boost social impact, including generating job opportunities for young and long-term unemployed, and Aboriginal people. 

“GROW Gippsland is connecting local organisations and ensuring spend goes back into the region and creates opportunities for everyone in our community to participate in meaningful and sustainable employment,” explained Latrobe Valley Authority chief executive officer Karen Cain. 

The Latrobe Valley Authority decided to work with ArcBlue due to its expertise in procurement, as well as track record in the field. ArcBlue has been working on a similar program with the Geelong community since 2013. This programme (Geelong G21 GROW) has seen participant organisations commit to moving 7% of their regional expenditure from non-local to local suppliers by 2020, with the aim of generating in excess of $1 billion into the regional economy annually. 

To date, the GROW Gippsland programme has worked with more than 90 major local purchasers and suppliers to review their procurement, employment, and supply arrangements. The project team also worked with key buyers in the infrastructure chain – authorities, builders, contractors and suppliers – to ensure that local and social procurement and employment opportunities are incorporated into plans.

An international award

While the programme is still underway, the promising results so far have seen the Latrobe Valley Authority and ArcBlue lauded by peers for their excellence in contributing to economy and society. At the Innovation and Excellence Awards – a global awards ceremony that showcases best practices in the world of commercial contracting and procurement – GROW Gippsland was named the Asia Pacific winner in the category ‘Economic and Social Benefit’. 

GROW Gippsland - Economic value

Commenting on winning one of the six award categories for Asia Pacific, Karen Cain said, “This award is great recognition of our partnership with ArcBlue and Regional Development Victoria, as well as the more than 90 organisations involved to deliver real and meaningful outcomes for people throughout Gippsland.” 

Chris Newman, Consulting Director at ArcBlue added, “We are delighted to have won this award and very proud to be working on the GROW Gippsland initiative. ArcBlue is passionate about the role social procurement can play and GROW Gippsland is a great example of a partnership delivering real benefits to a wonderful community.”

Other finalists for the ‘Economic and Social Benefit’ award in Asia Pacific were Melbourne Water and Aqua Metro Services with an Aboriginal civil construction project, Auckland Transport with a sustainable procurement transformation, AusNet Services for a compliance programme with the Australian Modern Slavery Act 2018, and Jemena and ASC Shipbuilding in conjunction with consultancies Deloitte and BAE Systems.